Maple Grove resident stars in ‘Willy Wonka’

SOAR Regional Arts is a brand-new, semi-professional community theater representing St. Michael, Otsego, Albertville and Rogers and will soon present its inaugural production, “Willy Wonka the Musical.”

Ron Tolliver is the accomplished actor playing Grandpa Joe in “Willy Wonka.” He has an extensive acting resume including several national touring productions.

“I live in Maple Grove and have been hoping for an opportunity to appear in a theater closer to home,” Tolliver said. “I have done several shows at Lyric Arts in Anoka and now with SOAR, there are more opportunities in the northwest metro.”

For this production, the cast ages range from 7 to adult. Noah Gilbertson of Elk River also has a lead role as Charlie.

There are nine paid production staff positions, each were interviewed and carefully chosen for their training and expertise in their respective specialties. Director Dr. Mary Cutler has a PhD in theater and recently retired from teaching at the college level after decades.

“Willy Wonka the Musical” opens July 27 and runs through Aug. 5 at STMA High School Performing Arts Center. Tickets can be purchased directly through the SOAR Regional Arts website —

This organization is funded, in part, by a grant from the Central MN Arts Board, through appropriations from the MN State Legislature with money from the state’s general fund, and its arts and cultural heritage fund that was created by a vote of the people of Minnesota in November 2008.